The Politics of Oil: A Study of Private Power and Democratic Directions

The Politics of Oil: A Study of Private Power and Democratic Directions

The Politics of Oil: A Study of Private Power and Democratic Directions

The Politics of Oil: A Study of Private Power and Democratic Directions

Excerpt

This book is a study of the nature of corporate power and its impact upon American political assumptions and institutions. The oil industry, which operates on the frontier of technological knowledge and economic and political organization, serves as the springboard for raising a series of questions about power, purpose, and responsibility in an industrial environment.

The original research was toward an analysis of the so-called "tidelands oil" controversy. I wanted to see what this headline issue could illustrate for students of American society. After considerable research and interviewing in Washington, I came to realize that the politics of offshore oil was a fragment of a much larger picture. The research that followed represented an attempt to obtain an overview of the political behavior of the petroleum industry and its impact upon political processes throughout the United States, as well as upon foreign policy and public opinion. The preparation of this book has given me an education about petroleum, politics, people, power, and even publishing.

The findings presented are based upon a careful examination of available documents and upon extensive travel and correspondence. Considerable time was spent in Washington, New York, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and California. Many insights into the workings of the oil industry and its relation to the American political system were gained from several hundred interviews with oilmen, association officials, lobbyists, lawyers, newspaper and public relations men, government officials, members of the United States Congress and state legislatures, and citizens in the regions cited. No attempt is made here to thank these people individually by name. But I am grateful for their willingness to give so generously of their time and knowledge.

I wish to thank the William C. Whitney Foundation for grants that made possible the original travel throughout the United States . . .

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